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Dragon Crystal (Game Gear)

Dragon Crystal Game Gear Title screen

MISSING COVER

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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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Written by  :  mobiusclimber (221)
Written on  :  Mar 30, 2008
Platform  :  Game Gear
Rating  :  1.5 Stars1.5 Stars1.5 Stars1.5 Stars1.5 Stars

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Summary

Addictive, But Boring At The Same Time.

The Good

To like Dragon Crystal, you have to love Rogue-likes. I mean you have to seriously LOVE them. If you don't wake up in the middle of the night from having dreams of Rogue-like adventure games, then don't even think about buying this game.

The best thing that I can say about the game is that it changes every time you play it. The maze, enemy and item layout are different each and every time you start a new game. Not only that but the effects of potions changes. There are several different colored potions that you collect and you'll never know what effect they have until you use them.

This game can be oddly addicting, especially to anyone that likes this kind of gaming experience. I found myself playing this game almost against my will at times. I'd die and vow never again! And then I'd start up a new game.

Notice how short the "good" section is? That's because I'm having a very hard time thinking of anything good to say. So on to the bad stuff...

The Bad

I'm not a big fan of Rogue-like adventure games. This game is basically a sequel of sorts to Fatal Labyrinth, the first Sega Genesis game I ever owned, and the bane of my young existence. Just like that other lousy game, Dragon Crystal features the same enemies, the same potions and equipment and the same need to chomp down on whatever pieces of meat stuck to a bone you happen to find lying around. I hated this game back when it was called Fatal Labyrinth, and I hate it even more as Dragon Crystal.

The biggest problem is that they took a very simple game and made it even simpler. There's no storyline to speak of, not even the brief one that FL had. There's no town, as useless as FL's town was. And your hunger meter is gone as well. You don't even slash your sword in this game, you just run into the enemy and poke it.

There is absolutely no motivation for playing this game. Normally, things like a storyline, a sense of adventure, a desire to see what the next location looks like, or even just to get better equipment would be enough to drive the player onward. There is almost none of that in this game. The graphics for a level repeat themselves over and over again, and they aren't that great to begin with. One level has giant flowers and you have to find a path through the flowers. Eventually it changes to Easter Island head statues. There is a very small number of different equipment, and it's generally better if you don't even change what you have because, in a huge stroke of genius, the designers thought it would be fun to make every fourth item cursed. Wheee! Are we having fun yet?

There is nothing truly compelling about this game, beyond the sick addiction us gamers have to wanting to finish everything, including (and for some especially) bad games. I really wanted to beat this game not because I enjoyed it, but because I hated it and wanted to HURT it. Beat it, best it, or beat it against the ground, one or the other. It's bad when the reason you're playing a game is because you have a grudge against it.

What's really sad is that it isn't difficult to create a compelling adventure game. First thing you need is a story. It doesn't have to be War and Peace or Gulliver's Travels, it just has to exist. Break the levels up with a town every once in awhile. Have more than five pieces of armor and none of them cursed. That goes double for poisoned potions! And how about some semi-realistic graphics? Trees, not Easter Island heads. See how easy it would have been for the game designers to do a good job instead of a lousy one?

The Bottom Line

It had to have taken a lot of work to create a game this awful, though. A group of people had to have gone out of their way to make a game that isn't poorly executed but purely pathetic. They were able to do a decent job of programming the game, so what gives? No one creates mazes out of one repeating graphic and chooses the dumbest graphic for it they can unless they're trying to win a bet about how bad of a game they can make.

So if you like a game where every fourth item you come across is cursed in some way, where your mode of attack is running into things over and over again, where the amount of different items to be found is countable on one hand, where leveling up is all important but accidentally moving to the next level is shockingly easy, and where the only reason to continue playing is to see what laughably bad idea the designer will have next, then believe me, this game is for. Otherwise, you might want to avoid the pain, frustration and incredulity this game will cause.